Suite Minute - An Award-Winning Technology Blog by Peggy Duncan

September 19th, 2013

How to Mass Delete Emails from iPhone and iPad Inbox (with video)

General Technology, Outlook, by Peggy Duncan.

I like to keep my Inbox clear on my iPhone, especially since all my messages also appear in Outlook (I keep that Inbox to one screen without scrolling). It’s always frustrated me when I went from BlackBerry to the iPhone when I could no longer mass delete messages. But, finally, someone has discovered a trick, and I’ve posted the video below.


You’ll want to test all this to make sure it’ll fit your setup, e.g., synching to the cloud. My email is not synched to iCloud, so you may want to test all this.

Do This First

On the iPhone/iPad

You’ll need to change how each email account handles a deleted message.

  1. Settings, Mail.
  2. Tap the account you want to work with. Scroll down to Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to Delete from server, and tap. Then tap When removed from Inbox. Done.

I opted to delete from server once it’s deleted from my Inbox since my messages will still download to Outlook (whether Outlook is open or not), so that’ll work for me.

For Gmail

For Gmail, I went into Settings by clicking the wheel, click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, and under When messages are accessed with POP, I chose to delete Gmail’s copy. I’ve trashed all email on Gmail online. I never check email there so they had piled up. But now that I’ve changed my settings, that won’t happen anymore.

With Gmail, deleted emails are archived instead of actually deleted. Gmail has option to trash deleted messages but it’s grayed out, so I can only archive. No matter. As long as it’s not flooding my iPhone, I’m good. I guess people who do the paid account will have more options).

How-To Video

From the video below, you’ll click on an email in the Inbox, click Edit, hold down the Move command as you then deselect the message. Then tap Trash. I tried this on individual Inboxes and then All Inboxes. Both worked.

Now my iPhone inbox is as nice and clean as my laptop’s Outlook.


Love, love, love it!


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  • peggyduncan

    Sorry you’re having problems, Michelle. Worked for me and others below. Don’t give up yet.

  • Michelle

    I have been trying this on my iPad 3… It isn’t working!! I have 22,000 emails in my inbox and really want to get rid of them. You would think Apple would have a feature to “select all”…”

  • R Pamela

    Since Outlook is also my mail system and my iPad and iPhone emails are purely for on-the-go reference so I don’t spend a lot of time cleaning them out. I receive tons of emails and refuse to process them multiple times. This is a great work around for a weekly mass cleaning.

  • Susan Roudebush

    that was awesome! my gmail mailboxes have made me nuts the past few years. The files were trouble to delete.

  • Carole Oetke Townsend

    worked for me!! Love it!!

  • Zelyntor

    This worked for me with a lot of stopping the video and backtracking. Why Apple can’t just make a simple empty folder button beats me. There is quite a bit of delay between deselecting the first message and the result so watch where you tell it to move to. Bottom line is it works. Apple should look at Windows Mail sometime.

  • Mascoma

    I also have the Ipad 3 , it took a few trys but it finally worked… Very slick trick….

  • rosalie collins

    Couldn’t get this to work for me. I have an ipad3 and over 1000 messages in my hotmail! Please help.

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